Note — Sep 23, 2018

Why You Should Read This Article Slowly

Seen in → No.50

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I like this idea, and as I make a concerted effort to read more books (again), it’s good to also apply some slower more purposeful reading to articles too.(Hello sexist clickbaty headline image though! 😡)

A piece of writing is not simply a “take” on something, but a rhetorical exercise in pace, rhythm, tone, texture and voice. Ultimately it is irreducible to precis or paraphrase. It can only be fully understood by immersing oneself in the words and their slow unravelling of a line of thought. The slow reader is like a swimmer who stops counting the number of pool laps they have done and just enjoys how their body feels and moves in water. […]

Slow reading feels to me like a more generous, collegiate form of reading – rather as listening is a more generous act than speaking, and more difficult. Slow reading gives someone else (the writer) the gift of your time, without any guaranteed return, and with the risk that you will be bored or discomforted by the writing’s strangeness or difficulty. Slow reading is a gradual encounter with the obdurate otherness of another person’s mind. Like any such encounter, it should take as long as it takes and be its own end.